Lord George Gordon Byron

January 22, 1788 - April 19, 1824


To M. S. G. (Whene'er I view those lips of thine...)

by Lord George Gordon Byron

Whene'er I view those lips of thine,
Their hue invites my fervent kiss;
Yet, I forego that bliss divine,
Alas! it were - unhallow'd bliss.

Whene'er I dream of that pure breast,
How could I dwell upon its snows!
Yet, is the daring wish represt,
For that, - would banish its repose.

A glance from thy soul-searching eye
Can raise with hope, depress with fear;
Yet, I conceal my love, - and why?
I would not force a painful tear.

I ne'er have told my love, yet thou
Hast seen my ardent flame too well;
And shall I plead my passion now.
To make thy bosom's heaven a hell?

No! for thou never canst be mine,
United by the priest's decree:
By any ties but those divine,
Mine, my belov'd, thou ne'er shalt be.

Then let the secret fire consume,
Let it consume, thou shalt not know:
With joy I court a certain doom,
Rather than spread its guilty glow.

I will not ease my tortur'd heart,
By driving dove-ey'd peace from thine;
Rather than such a sting impart,
Each thought presumptuous I resign.

Yes! yield those lips, for which I'd brave
More than I here shall dare to tell;
Thy innocence and mine to save, -
I bid thee now a last farewell.

Yes! yield that breast, to seek despair,
And hope no more thy soft embrace;
Which to obtain, my soul would dare
All, all reproach, but thy disgrace.

At least from guilt shalt thou be free,
No matron shall thy shame reprove;
Though cureless pangs may prey on me,
No martyr shalt thou be to love.

First printed, January, 1807


The Complete Poetical Works Of Lord Byron
Copyright 1907
The Macmillan Company, New York
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